After graduating from the University of British Columbia in 2014, Andrew Formosa made a swift transition from studying to steering as pharmacist-owner at Aaronson’s Pharmacy, a Victoria, B.C. landmark and local destination for natural health products since 1910. With his first exposure to pharmacy as a child, where he spent time in his father’s pharmacy, he looked, listened and learned. Pharmacy ownership for him is a family tradition.
By Andrew Formosa BSc Pharm, RPH
The expanding scope of pharmacy practice leaves me with mixed feelings. Primarily, I am excited and happy to see the changes, because pharmacists – as practitioners and medical professionals – have the education and capacity to influence public health in a most profound way. With expanding clinical roles in the community, I’d like to see pharmacists spending more one-on-one time with clients. New services are great, and pharmacists can do more, but I’m disappointed in the conditions under which these changes are made. Budget cuts and more budget cuts don’t bode well for the industry.
Changes are inevitable, of course, but some of the most important changes are not being made. Changes should make patient care easier, more sensible, more straightforward. Changes to the profession should reduce the chance of error, improve patient adherence, and ultimately reduce hospitalizations. The economic pressures placed on the industry are having nationwide consequences on pharmacists and the viability of pharmacy business.
It’s my belief that pharmacists are under-utilized and capable of a lot more, but there are social, political and economic barriers to redefine before pharmacists can achieve more. As a heavily regulated profession, it would be ideal to see pharmacists take more professional independence and freedom. I would like to see pharmacy services paid better, so I can build a team of more pharmacists and regulated technicians – which I think is necessary to provide the best professional service possible. With today’s volume-based income model, pharmacists have to be selective about which cases to spend more time on. I want to afford the time to play a bigger role in more of my patients’ lives. Great healthcare requires attention to detail and time spent listening to the client. The level of service I want to provide requires more professional staff, and that requires profit.
In making a mark in my profession, I will strive to better the lives of my patients, strengthen my community, and encourage those around me to bring out the best in one’s self. As a pharmacist and a family-oriented individual, I believe that relationships and trust are to be treasured. My mission is to provide exceptional pharmaceutical care and professional support through continued education, teamwork and cooperation. By cooperatively weighing potential risks and benefits with patients, and discussing non-pharmaceutical options, I hope to encourage responsible medication use and best possible outcomes.
Professionally, I wish to operate a sustainable and ethical business centred on patient values and the need for efficient, reliable, personalized healthcare. The needs of the client drive my efforts – and this is based on strong ethical and moral priorities.
I entered pharmacy school with the goal to own and manage Aaronson’s Pharmacy. I knew I wanted to be a pharmacist who cared about people. I’ve always been truly proud of the profession and my work. It was clear to me that I had to follow in my father’s footsteps as my father and uncle both owned pharmacies, and I knew my career was going to be closely in line with theirs.
For me, being an owner means hard work and becoming intimately involved with pharmacy on a whole other level – making it part of my identity and my purpose.
Andrew Formosa, A.S, BScPharm, RPh is the pharmacist-owner of Aaronson’s Pharmacy in Victoria, B.C.